Oh, the “dad shoe.” The chunky, sensible, “ugly” footwear style beloved by grill-obsessed Midwestern dads should have been the very antithesis of fashion, and yet, for the last several years, it continues to have a firm foothold in the fashion industry. It’s one of the phenomena we simply cannot explain. And it seems we’re in for another year of utility, comfort, and ease, except for one roadblock: It can feel awkward — even impossible — to wear and style it with the clothes you own (Is this shoe too ugly? you might wonder).
But the beauty of the “dad shoe” is that it doesn’t require much (or really any) thought, because the style is actually pretty versatile. Its quiet simplicity allows for opportunities to experiment and play with different outfits that range from casual to dressy. And with a little help from Merrell, we’ll show you just how easy it is to incorporate the “dad shoe” into your everyday looks. Using the brand’s Jungle Moc Eco and Hydro Moc shoes — two incredibly self-aware, aesthetic-defying styles — these four looks will inspire you to embrace the trend regardless of where you’re going, whether that’s going on a hike or a grabbing a cocktail.
Elevate Your Athleisure
Perhaps the easiest way to wear a “dad shoe” is by pairing it with workout clothes for a full-on athleisure moment. While you could go the easy route and reach for gym basics — say, your favorite black leggings and a gray hoodie — consider sprucing things up by incorporating a bit of fun in there by way of interesting textures, bright colors, or unexpected accessories (or all of the above).
Experiment With Street Style
For a model off-duty kind of look, pair your comfiest slip-ons with a cool top and even cooler bottoms, like a billowy pant with unique tassel detailing. Edgy and understated, the mix of gorpcore and street style is a winning combination that leaves ample room for experimentation and playfulness.
Get Dressed Up
A “dad shoe” with a dress? The juxtaposition between a super-feminine silhouette (in this case, a white dress with mesh detailing and pearl embellishments) and a sleek, durable “dad shoe” just works. For your next cocktail event or work function, take the unexpected route and replace your go-to heel with this style. You’ll be the comfiest person in the room.
Look Toward The Future
For a futuristic spin on the trend, try pairing a “dad shoe" with a matching leather look in a playful color, like orange. For footwear that can feel “old,” styling it with super-sleek co-ords can give it a surprisingly refreshing lift, resulting in a big ‘fit that would work for hitting up a bar or gallery-hopping with friends.